Every week the grocery aisle features some new Oreo flavor. This week I saw “Chocolate Hazelnut” and “Hot and Spicy Cinnamon” added to a bourgeoning catalog that now includes the likes of birthday cake Oreos, cinnamon roll Oreos, Oreo with lime, and grass-fed Oreo.
Venture outside the grocery store and you’ll find Oreo milkshakes, Oreo pies, Oreo cereal, Oreo McFlurries, Oreo Blizzards, fried Oreos, and Oreo donuts. It’ll take something unique to stand out as more than just lazy Oreo branding, and Arby’s gave it their best shot.
Arby’s piqued my interest when they announced their limited-time Oreo Bites. Arby’s offers plenty of tasty, unique items typically in pairing two or more meats and announcing possession of them. Their desserts, however, range from the acceptable stalwart (jamocha shake) to uninspired (turnovers, cookies, and the other milkshakes). Perhaps the Bites could change that.
Similar in design to Taco Bell’s Cinnabon Delights, the Bites are simply dough filled with creamy goo. Arby’s website claims they’re “chocolate doughnut bites” featuring classic Oreo accoutrements: crème, wafer pieces, and that all-time favorite, “Oreo sugar blend.” Their final pitch for this Oreo orb? “Served. Warm.” Arby’s assuming here that I like all my desserts the temperature of bathwater.
But at no point did the Bites taste like Oreo. The most glaring issue? No crunch. An Oreo product demands a crunch. An Oreo Bite with no crunch may as well be a dollop of whipped cream wrapped in pumpernickel bread. I’m not even sure the Bites were fried, which would have at least made them crunch-adjacent.
Furthermore, the icing doesn’t taste like Oreo crème at all. You know that feeling when you think you’re biting into a custard-filled donut and it turns out to be vanilla cream, the worst of all donut fillings? That’s one-tenth the disappointment of trying one of these Bites and tasting what can generously be described as something between heavy cream and whole milk. In the end, it’s imitation chocolate dough with a puff of icing—not even cream cheese icing!
Arby’s Oreo Bites are a dead-fish handshake in dessert form. They left me sad and confused, making it difficult not to judge the entire restaurant even though I should know better.
Compare that to Taco Bell’s Cinnabon Delights, that great ambrosia of the gods. They’re fried, or at least act fried. They have distinctly Cinnabon icing. The cinnamon-sugar coating complements the rest, unlike the “Oreo sugar blend” on the Bites that adds as much flavor as sand might.
The Oreo Bites are essentially Bizzaro World versions of Cinnabon Delights. They’re just such a letdown, like when you’re visiting your friend in a new city and he oversells a local cookie shop, where the cookies taste no better than ones from the grocery store. You aren’t mad because it was a terrible experience. You just thought it would be so much more.